Zachary Friend
Former Intern, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


November 21, 2019


American business and workers in the Buckeye State are anxiously waiting to see whether Congress will approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) before the end of the year. Passage of USMCA is integral to international business growth in the United States. Why? Because Canada and Mexico now constitute the nation’s two largest export markets, as well as two of its top three aggregate trading partners. In 2018, trade with the two countries reached nearly $1.4 trillion, and this economic activity supports an estimated 12 million American jobs.

But, how will the USMCA prove beneficial for Ohio specifically?

Ohio’s agricultural and manufacturing industries stand to benefit significantly from the removal of barriers to commerce included in the new trade deal. Last year, the state exported over $20 billion worth of goods alone to Canada and nearly $7.1 billion to Mexico, and more than half of the state’s merchandise exports go to the two countries. Only Michigan sends a higher share of its exports to our North American neighbors.

The new trade agreement would spur growth in Ohio’s agricultural and manufacturing industries.  Adam Sharp, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and Eric Burkland, president of The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, wrote a joint op-ed in September calling on Ohio’s members of Congress to ratify the agreement.

“When you break down what this new agreement would mean for farmers in Ohio the outlook is optimistic, as Ohio agriculture’s two largest trading partners are Canada and Mexico, respectively,” they wrote. “USMCA contains significant improvements and fixes to North America’s free trade rules that will benefit America’s ag producers, ensuring a level playing field.  The deal will strengthen and modernize America’s innovation engine, expand access for U.S. goods, and eliminate red tape at the border.”

The manufacturing sector in Ohio is particularly positioned to grow in the wake of the potential USMCA passage – especially since the state’s top exports include automobiles, auto parts, and machinery.

“Today, Canada and Mexico purchase more manufactured goods from Ohio than the rest of the world combined,” they wrote. “In fact, Ohio manufacturers in 2017 sold $27 billion of manufactured goods to Canada and Mexico, and nearly 103,000 Ohio manufacturing jobs rely on exports to these countries. One in three Ohio manufacturing firms – overwhelmingly small businesses – export to Canada and Mexico.”

Given these numbers, it should come as no surprise that Canada and Mexico are the number one and two foreign destinations for Ohio’s exports.

Ohio’s top three exports to Canada

  • Vehicles, Except Railway Or Tramway, And Parts Etc
  • Nuclear Reactors, Boilers, Machinery Etc.; Parts
  • Electric Machinery Etc; Sound Equip; Tv Equip; Pts

Ohio’s top three exports to Mexico

  • Vehicles and Parts
  • Boilers, Machinery, and Electrical Appliances and Parts
  • Electrical Machinery and Equipment and Parts

USMCA offers numerous sector-by-sector growth opportunities nationwide – it’s time to pass the trade agreement that could further benefit Ohio businesses, workers, and families.

About the authors

Zachary Friend

Zachary Friend is a former intern working with the Strategic Communications division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.